tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN August 5, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
specific than anything we could have had before and there's a significant risk, mr. chairman, of taking any action without that level of security when the request came in may, we were not able to do anything immediately in any event. we have a much better picture to form eventual decisions from the president and any decisions in that regard made or might be made or considered in the full consultation with the committee and the congress. >> right. but isis has the treasury of the central bank in mosul so they have at their disposal, you know, probably half a billion dollars. >> they have good propaganda. they put out $4.5 million in the first week or so. we don't think that's particularly true. they are a self sustaining organization and flush with resources, cash and equipment, no question. >> i'm out of time. i'll go to mr. engel. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and brett and elissa, thank you for your testimony and for your good work.
i want to talk a little bit about the division of iraq or keeping iraq whole. on the one hand, quh you look at some of these borders in the middle east, they were all done by the colonialists and i have often felt why should we be obligated to maintain those borders? iraq is not a real state. it was slapped together. you've got the kurds, you have the shia and the sunni, who really don't want to be part of each other, and so -- particularly the kurds, who have autonomy now, practically have their own nation, and probably will proclaim it very shortly, so my sympathies would be to say to the kurds, well, why should we suck you back into iraq? you have the right to your own nation. frankly, nobody has ever explained to me why the palestinians are entitled to self-determination but somehow the kurds are not. i don't know -- i don't think that's fair, quite frankly.
on the other hand, we are told that if the kurds break off, there's practically no way that you could stop the radicals from dominating what's left of iraq and that the kurds provide some sort of a counterbalance to prevent the radicals from gaining control. i'd like to hear from both of you what your views are on keeping iraq intact or not. >> let me address that briefly, and i can turn to my colleague elissa. as i described in the testimony of the functioning federalism concept, it's a concept under the iraqi constitution and would be recognize a substantial devil lose of powers. there's a recognition from iraq from the center out, you will never fully control all these areas, particularly given the capacity of isil and also recognition that locals alone and tribal forces alone cannot
defeat isil. they need the resources of the central state. so therefore, a functioning federalism concept is really the model that is an emerging consensus within iraq. the kurdish region now shares about 1,000-kilometer border with what is effective isis. we're in active conversations with the kurds to make sure they are able to manage that problem. they also face a very serious strategic -- geostrategic environment, given just the geography of the region, but believe me, we are in a very active conversation with the curd stan region about their future in iraq. but significantly, it's important to recall that on april 30th 14 million voted on a national election, a 50% turnout in anbar province, a p 28-member parliament, which has just convened. today was the first session with
the new speaker of parliament, a very moderate, pragmatic sunni leader who secured the support of all political blocs. today in the parliament, again its first session, they all stood together, all groups, to denounce the very horrific tragedy inflicted by isil against christians in mosul. the country overall, the people do not want to divide into three different countries or three different states. there is no easy solution for that. when you game it out, actually the consequences are quite serious. >> mr. mcgurk, it's my feeling -- correct me if i'm wrong, that the kurds, the consensus is that they want to separate from iraq. >> there's a lot of kurds -- at the heart of every kurd, they want an independent state. there's no question. i think we have to recognize that. we also have to recognize the kurds are among our closest friends in the region. we have to have a close, close partnership with the kurds, and we do. but there's also a pragmatic element given the economic realities and other thing in
which we want to work closely with the kurds on their future. i think the future within the constitutional structure, the kurds right now are choosing their nominee to be the president of iraq, and we hope to have that sorted out over the coming days. but again, within the constitutional framework and we've had conversations just over the last week when i was in erbil, and with the leadership of the patriotic unity of kurdistan, about their future, about how we can work with them on their future and about a future within the constitutional framework and at least in the near term, i think that's the best way to go. >> i just don't feel that it's fair to hold the kurds hostage because we've, unfortunately, screwed up things in iraq and everything is falling to pieces. we're essentially saying to the kurds, you know what? you have to be the glue that keeps iraq together, therefore we're going to deny you your aspirations. i'm not sure that's quite fair. ms. slotkin.
>> i'll speak to it from the security aspects. given the isil threat, the biggest blunt to that threat would be a strong capable government in iraq that's able to exert control and influence to push back on that threat. and while i guess it is sort of a -- there is -- there's long been this idea that iraq can split into three pieces, i just ask the question, who is in charge of that western and north-central part of iraq in that model? so while i think, as brett described, there certainly are lots of folks in the kurdish regions who have aspirations of independence, think about what that means in that neighborhood and territory they're left in if you don't have a strong, capable government in baghdad that's ability to blunt those isil threats. they have syria, the situation on the southern border right there. they have got iran on the other side. that is a tough neighborhood. from a security point of view, the single best blunt frankly to
both isil and to a strong dominant iranian influence in iraq is a strong capable federal government based in baghdad. >> i was going to ask you about iran, but i see my time is up. let me just very quickly say that i hope that the united states does not think that it can be lulled into some kind of partnership with iran in iraq. there are some people who feel that because or interests may come together, converge, that maybe we should partner with iran. i couldn't disagree more. i think that iran is major -- the lead supporter of terrorism in the world. i think we look at what's happening now with israel and gaza and all the weapons of hamas, which is a terrorist organization provided by iran, and i just think it would be a tragic error if we thought somehow iran was a viable partner in iraq.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> ileana roh-lentinen. >> thank you. in your excellent opening statement, you said we must ensure that isil can't gain safe haich in western iraq and confident that iran -- iraq will deny them this. we all know how that turned out. just a few months later, isil took over most of western iraq. how could your assessment have been so far off? how did iraq lose this territory? why didn't we respond to their calls for help? your testimony from february shows that there was some serious disconnect within the administration on the reality of the threat in iraq, or we've just been completely failing in addressing it. you stated that the u.s. began to accelerate some of our foreign military assistance programs and information sharing
to get a better intelligence picture of iraq last month secretary kerry said nobody expected isil to capture mosul. even if our foreign military assistance had not quite kicked in yet, shouldn't our information and intelligence gathering efforts have been able to get a better assessment? a more accurate assessment of samarah and mosul? and it has been widely reported that while taking care of mosul, isil seized rather large quantities of u.s.-supplied foreign military assistance and made off with nearly half a billion dollars from the local banks in addition to tanks and humvees that were taken, u.s. officials were quick to deny the claims of isil that they captured advanced weaponry such as black hawk helicopters. did they capture any caravan aircraft with advanced weapons platform? did they take any other advanced
weaponry like man pads? u.s. military equipment and hundreds of millions of dollars respect the only items that isil has seized. the iraqi government confirmed that isil took uranium from mosul university. what is the status of that uranium. what could isil use it for? on the christian community, we have seen that the ancient christian community is under siege by these islamist militants, once a vibrant and sizable community now over 1 million christians have been forced to flee their homes and communities or be killed. their homes are being marked by isil and being given an ultimatum to flee, to convert or to be murdered. in february, mr. mcgurk, you said you were trying to make sure that the christian community had the resources to protect itself and that we had actually made progress. it's clear that we haven't made any progress. we cannot protect them, so what
are we doing now to help protect the few remaining christians and their religious sites and artifacts? as ranking member engle had pointed out are we on any level, directly or indirectly, coordinating with iran on or -- or syria over our iraq policy or isil? and does the administration believe that malaki must go? yes or no. thank you, sir. gentlelady. >> let me try to address some of these in order. first, the very good discussion we had in february was focused on anbar province. i will just bring you up to speed on where we are in anbar province. at the time fallujah was in control of isil. fallujah is still in control of isil. i made clear our advice was not
to move in, to set a cordon that cordon remains in place. though it is fairly loose. so far they are holding the provincial capital of irbati. what has changed is a significant attack that took place on the strategic border crossing. which proves that isil is a militarily capable force. it was a multiple-day assault. >> i think to your written testimony isil also generates $12 million a month through illicit business in mosul. that's a lot of money for terrorists. quite an economic engine. >> they're self-sustaining organization. what we had seen for quite a bit of the time of modis avendi is that they were in control at night, but not openly in control. that's why the assault into mosul did catch everybody off-guard.
we saw some indications. but we did not envision the assault nor the collapse of the security forces up there. i will say i've had a number of conversations with the -- >> i'm out of time. i apologize. i threw a lot of questions to you so you could give me some written responses. i apologize. i'm out of time. >> we'll go to albio sires. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses who have been here. ms. slotkin, i've been here since 2006. i have come to hate the word assess and train. we seem to be assessing and training iraqi soldiers, assessing the situation in iraq, and i think the situation is worse than ever after spending billions of dollars. we train an army. they fire a shot at them. they run for the hills.
where did we go wrong with this people that we put all this money and training, and they can't even defend a section of their own country? i just -- it's mind-boggling to me. now we have the situation where we have isis moving in all sorts of directions. i'm concerned that we have about 2 million refugees in jordan. if we have a situation where they destabilize jordan, the whole area -- it's just a whole mess. what do we do with all that money that we put to train these people? where are these trained people? i've been here since 2006. it's not just this administration. i'm talking from 2006 on. can you just -- mr. mcgurk, can you also assist me in understanding this? >> yeah. so let me address the issue of the training. i think, you know, anyone who has watched the news or been a part of our efforts in iraq was disappointed by what we saw in
mosul, and i think the biggest thing that we looked at and were surprised by was the dissolving of, frankly, four iraqi divisions up and around that area in areas where they did not fight. in contrast to western iraq, where they were putting up a serious fight. rather than a lack of capability, i think what we believe is that they just lacked either the will or the direction to fight. either they as brett described, there was a snowballing effect and they out of fear stripped off the uniforms and turned or waited for direction from baghdad that did not come, and therefore, departed. we don't believe that it's -- that they lacked a basic capability. it is that at the end of the day they did not have the will or direction to fight in that part of the area. that's critical for any future plans we decide to pursue in iraq. we have to understand whether the partner in iraq that we'll be working with has the will, the direction, the capacity to
fight, and that's why we have folks on the ground right now trying to figure that out. but, i mean, it is not that it's not frustrating. it, of course, is. >> we spent billions of dollars on a group of people that are not willing to fight? >> i don't think we can say that about all the iraqi security forces. we see them attempting to take offensive action in iraq. as recently as this week. it's not a blanket statement you can make. as brett said, in western iraq there's still area that is are contesting -- >> we're talking four divisions. >> four divisions, that's correct. >> mr. mcgurk. >> let me just add a couple points. the leadership and command in mosul of these units have all been fired. we immediately were in conversations with iraqi and security leaders in the wake of mosul and recommended a wholesale change in the command. new commanders have been appointed. those are commanders we know very well, they're also quite effective. iraqis just in the past month in terms of fighting units, they have suffered almost 1,000
killed in action, and they are holding the line, and they are beginning to conduct some very rudimentary offensive operations to clear some highways. i will not underestimate the extreme challenge here, but what we saw in mosul was not indicative of the force as a whole. we are finding that the units, many of them, are balanced -- there's about an average -- i was just on the phone with our folks out there today the composition of the force is about 55% shia, about 23% sunni, by and large and what we have found is that within the units themselves there's no fracturing among sectarian lines in the units themselves. there are incompetent, incapable units with poor leadership. there's no question we have found those. but we have found extremely capable, extremely proficient, and extremely dedicated units. it's in our interests, i believe, to invest in those units. we should not write off what
happened in mosul and write off the entire security force because that would not be an accurate response to the overall situation, nor i think would that be in our long-term interests. >> can you talk a bit about the direction going towards jordan, and what are we doing to -- to offset that? >> so obviously particularly the news a couple weeks ago about isil taking ground near the jordanian border was -- we all looked at that very closely, particularly the jordanians. i think what's important to remember is the jordanians are a very solid, capable force that is laser-focused on this issue. they have moved troops to the border in order to reinforce their side of the border, and then the united states has a robust relationship with jordan that is only strengthened, frankly, in the wake of everything that's gone on in syria. so there's quite a significant amount of interaction on a daily basis with the jordanians.
but we obviously watch that with keen interest. >> i'm sorry i ran out of the time, but i wanted to ask you about camp liberty. but i ran out of time. chairman, thank you very much. >> we'll let the witness respond to your question. >> can you talk a bit about iranian use in this situation to attack camp liberty? >> very briefly, we are watching camp liberty extremely closely. it remains our goal to get all the members and residents of camp liberty out of iraq. we are working on that extremely hard. we have some leads with other countries and third countries. we also are going to do all that we can to make sure they remain safe. i can assure you that in all my conversations with iraqi leaders, i raised the issue of camp liberty, making sure the residents there remain safe. >> thank you for your courtesy, mr. chairman. >> certainly. we go to chris smith of new jersey, chairman of the
committee of african rights and global health. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, for calling this very important hearing. and to our distinguished witnesses. let me ask you, if i could, some experts argue that at least 10,000 u.s. counterterrorism forces should have remained in iraq, but the president and malaki both chose otherwise. in retrospect, did that contribute in any way to isil's emergence and the current situation on the ground as it exists today? secondly, secretary mcgurk, you said that a formal request for assistance was received in may. my question would be, were there any informal requests through other avenues, including from the iraqi ambassador to the u.s. made before that? how do you define formal request? if certain individuals are asking for help, what modality needs to be employed to say, now they've actually asked? thirdly, al baghdadi as we know
was in the united states custody and was released. when he was released, he told the american guards who were from new york, so perhaps that what he meant or could have had the double meaning of we'll come get you 9/11-like, he said, i'll see you in new york. we know that he has now emerged as the leader of isis and, you know, obviously has posed an enormous threat to life and liberty of iraqis, to christians, perhaps even to the united states. my question is, especially in light of what has happened with guantanamo where, as a result of the 2012 intelligence act, it was required for the administration to tell us how many of those who were released from gitmo went back into battle. and the report suggested that of the 614 that were released, 104 were confirmed to go back into
the battle against americans and our allies. 74 probably went back, but they couldn't confirm it. for a total of 178, which is a huge number of potential american and allies' death to service members, and we had them in custody. so, the question there, with regards to al baghdadi, did we in any way see this coming? why was he released to be allowed to go and form isis and to do the terrible things they are doing today? >> on the -- i'm not playing with words on formal or informal request. the conversation kind of goes like this. you'll sometimes hear from an iraqi official. they want direct air strikes. you then talk about this is what they would mean. access to your airspace. and then it's wait, let's find out a way to do it on our own. that's why we worked with the
caravans and hellfires, the formal direction, access to airspace, direct to the u.s., came in may, very unequivocal. that came in may. i do not have information on release of baghdadi, but i can obviously get back to you on that. again, in terms of 2011, i can just speak from my own experience on this. i was out of government. i came into the process extremely late. we had a legal requirement that s.o.f.a. would have to go through the entire iraqi parliament. i can report from my own experience that none of the political blocs in the parliament were going to support that request given our own requirements, so therefore, it was just not possible for us to stay. the rise of aqi, as i think i testified in my last hearing here, it really regenerated in syria, and on the battlefields and battlegrounds of syria.
that's where we saw the massive regeneration, massive influx of foreign fighters, then started to see it come back into iraq over the course of last spring and summer. so that was really what led to the regeneration of al qaeda in iraq, which we now know as isil. >> if you could get back on al baghdadi, i would appreciate that. the iraqi requests started coming in in august of 2013 for assistan assistance. is that true? >> yes, for enhanced assistance, in terms of sharing information, in terms of enabling some of their units, yes. >> did we respond to it in an affirmative way? >> we responded immediately. we set up intelligence fusion sharing centers. we helped them with the hellfire missiles, precision strikes. we helped them in terms of training forces on the ground. special operations -- >> because i'm almost out of time, are there items or requests that went unfulfilled? >> again, other than this most
recent question in may, in fact, in january we got a list of requirements and things that they wanted. we have fulfilled every piece of that list. i can answer in writing a very detailed response. >> if you could, i would appreciate that very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. ted deutsche of florida, subcommittee chairman on middle east and north africa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to talk about our regional partners. and it's a really simple question. we talk a lot about jordan and the threats that jordan faces, and ms. slotkin, you spoke about that, and chairman ros-lehtinen and i were there recently, and we appreciate that. i would like to talk about our regional partners in the gulf. the question is -- who is concerned?
what are they doing about it? and who is concerned, but is not helping or maybe even making more things difficult? >> i can just say the conversation has shifted over the last 18 months from -- there used to be a conversation when you would talk about this rise of extreme virulent al qaeda-type groups that in a second. i think is the conversation is obviously these things would have to be done in parallel. there's a renewed focus. secretary kerry when in iraq last month immediately went to paris and held a meeting with the former ministers of jordan, and then went on to riyadh. we found a really new emphasis, a new colessens in terms of how we have to go about this threat of isil.
they took a small town that has an open highway to saudi arabia. that's obviously very significant development. so, the saudis are focused on this and certainly, certainly are the jordanians and work with them every day on it. the cooperation we've had in terms of iraq and trying to think about how to squeeze isil, squeeze the manpower and at a new level now than it was, i think even six to eight weeks ago. >> i'll just add that the folks have added into iraq have come from the centcom region, and we are in regular consultation with all of the gulf countries, particularly those who host our troops. kuwait, qatar, uae and of course saudi arabia i have seen has pledged significant amounts of humanitarian aid for the situation in iraq so i do think people are aware of it.
i think that the thing critical going forward on the questions is we are going to need a regional approach to this problem. there is no way, you know, isil, the isil threat, air in a balloon and squeeze one part, the air goes to the other part and squeeze that one. we'll need all of the partners in the region who are under -- who are, you know, like anyone concerned about this issue to play a role in countering this threat. >> can i just follow up? if i understood you correctly, just to characterize your comments, the emirateties and saudis are very concerned and doing something about it to be helpful. the qataris are aware of it. can we talk more? particularly in light of -- ms. slotkin, i'll direct this to you. an announcement of arms deal, tell me what more the qataris are doing besides being aware of
isil. >> so i know -- the secretary kerry's had significant amount of phone conversations with all of the gulf allies on how to get more engaged. i think the -- you know, i don't think other than remaining in close contact with them that there's anything that anyone is doing right now because we're still trying to get a handle on the threat and what to do about it in a coordinated way. >> are there any -- are there any funds coming from qatar or any of the other countries to support isil or any of the other groups in the region? >> i've been asked this question a couple times. to our knowledge right now, and again, the intelligence community is assessing that no states, regional states are sponsoring -- >> that's not what i asked. >> i can't speak in this form to groups within these countries, but the states themselves are not supporting isil. >> all right. i appreciate it.
i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we go to mr. dana rohrabacher. >> thank you very much. malaki hasn't done a good job, has he? he hasn't done a good job, has he? he's made things worse, hasn't he? >> we have serious concerns about the effectiveness of the government of iraq. i would add we had an election on april 30th. they're now establishing a new government so that is where the process stands now and whether or not the prime minister can achieve a third term is something that remains in question. >> so we have not, however, officially suggested that he leave? or, have we unofficially suggested to him that it might be time for him to visit some of his money in dubai?
>> let me also just back up, in fairness to the governor of iraq, you know, they also face a tremendously difficult situation. the 30 days before they had an election in iraq, there were 53 suicide bombers in iraq blowing up mosques, marketplaces, parades, fairgrounds, playgrounds. any country facing that level of violence, and that is all from isil, is going to face extreme difficulty because isil is trying to tear apart the political fabric of the country so all the leaders are struggling with -- >> i will accept we cannot just blame malaki himself, but he has not provided the leadership that would be necessary to overcome what could be an inherent problems with having a country called iraq made up of that territory and those peoples that now compose that territory. that territory was devised and put together by european imperialists who decided that
would be what the country of iraq would look like. let me just say that, as far as i am concerned, the united states should not be having to limit itself and limit what solutions we can possibly have based on what the british empire determined 100 years ago. it all flows back to those -- those people. so with that said, i would hope that we would be open to situations like having an actual kurdistan exist, maybe a ballujastan, as well. there used to be a country named baluchistan and the british decided to cut that in two and split that up with and the kurds have always deserved to have their own national identity.
until we do, i happen to believe that no kind of leadership that we could put into place in iraq is going to be successful. maybe it's too much, even if malaki was the best, it might not be enough because that may be an ungovernable creation that our british friends gave us as a present when they exited as world leader. let me -- one other issue i'd like to mention. when you said we are watching very closely what's going on with the mek and camp liberty, it's not enough. it's not enough. last time we were watching very closely and hundreds of those people have been murdered. we're talking over the years where we watched and the iraqi army went in and murdered those people, and we're looking for someone to take them.
why aren't we deciding to take them? they are vulnerable. they are people who we have had to deal with. is it our government -- are we just -- i know i have a resolution, mr. chairman, suggesting that we take these people in. they're going to be murdered otherwise. so why are we just watching? are we not -- why aren't we moving beyond that and moving them out? >> we're working, as our senior adviser for mek resetment is working. he is on a flight tonight on this issue. working to find, again, more third country settlement options. one particular lead we are hoping, a country that has already taken a significant number, will take more, perhaps a substantial amount more. so we are working these leads aggressively and i'm happy to follow up with a more detailed briefing on where that stands. >> i would be very appreciative if you could follow up with me
on those details, but also, let me, mr. chairman, further state. we made a deal with them. they have provided us very important intelligence information and activities over the years. if other people, if other countries will not permit them to come in, it might be in our moral interests as well as interests of having other people trust us in the future just to take them into the united states as refugees. and if there's any group of people in the world that are at risk and refugees, it would be these folks in camp liberty. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. rohrabacher. we go now to mr. cicilline of rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to begin by welcoming a colleague from across the pond,
a member of parliament from great britain, who is here today. welcome. he's part of a program of shadowing members of congress, and we welcome you. thank you to the witnesses for your testimony. i want to say first i think like most americans i am very concerned about the unfolding situation in iraq and the rapid advance of isis incredibly particularly following the lost of mower than 4,000 american lives during "operation iraqi freedom." we also need to remain mindful of the sacrifices of our brave men and women, but the dangers that surround any further military involvement. it was reported recently that a classified military assessment of iraqi security forces showed deep infiltration by sunni extremist informant and forces remained dependent on shiite militants trained in iran. this poses i believe a very significant risk to military
personnel advising iraqi security forces. the situation in iraq is a problem that requires a political solution. in june, secretary of state john kerry said the formation of a new government in iraq that is inclusive of all parties in stakeholders is an requisite. to offensive military action by the united states. secretary kerry said it would be an act of great irresponsibility to order offense i have been action without a stable government. so i have really two questions in light of that confection, in light of your testimony. first, to you, mr. secretary, you spoke about this functioning federalism, which i think has significant appeal. and my question really is, what is your assessment of the capacity of the iraqis to proceed with that sort of model? the willingness to proceed, particularly since it involves the devolution of power, and what are the first, kind of key first steps we should be looking
for or supporting for that to go forward? secondly, would you comment on the humanitarian situation? we're hearing reports of targeting of women and girls. horrific sanitary conditions, and more than 1.2 million iraqis being displaced. are international organizations or the iraqi government working effectively to mitigate these conditions? and if you could talk about the current humanitarian situation is. >> first, let me address the humanitarian situation. it also gets to congressman deutsche's question on the saudis. i forgot to mention one thing. in the wake of secretary kerry's trip to riyad, the saudis put $500 million into the organizations managing the humanitarian response in iraq. we work closely with that original saiss. that contribution was welcome and essential. so it's a point that we have some coalescence in the region. that was very critical. the humanitarian situation remains quite serious and i can get you all the statistics and everything we are doing. i don't want to take too much of your question time.
in terms of willingness of a functioning federalism, it's all within the iraqi constitution, pretty much spelled out, so i think there is a growing recognition that a model like this, both is appealing because it conforms with the new realities on the ground as i said, local actors, tribal actors are not going to be defeat isil on their own. i have examples of that where some tribes have risen up to fight, and isil has responded with tremendous and brutal force. they are killing sunnis wherever they go, where sunnis disagree. when a speech was given a, because isil killed all the moderate clerics before isil moved in. as a recognition of the local side they need support to grow their own security forces. they want to be in control, and there's a recognition from the center that the army cannot be reconstituted to take control, so i have to have a cooperative federalism model.
it is also something that we can fully support and i think help enable. the iraqis are trying now, working to reconstitute the units that dissolved in june and are now training about 10,000 of those soldiers who either fled from their posts or significantly one third of those soldiers with on their r&rs during that time and most have come back. they're working to retrain them, again something that we can help with, but everybody recognizes you cannot reconstitute the structure on the structure pre-mosul. it has to be smarter and more adaptive to realities. because it's within the constitutional framework, this can be a fairly brought consensus for that model. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> we go to mr. steve chabot, chairman of the asia subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this very important hearing. we appreciate our panelists being here today.
there's, quite frankly, a great deal of skepticism in on you the administration has overseen the unraveling of iraq. really, i think from the start i think we're all aware that the president was anxious, desperate to reduce our involvement in iraq. he had made promises about doing just that, and there was, i think, kind of a scramble for the door there from the very start. i've been to iraq a number of times. i chaired the middle east subcommittee in the previous congress, and i think we've known -- i mean, it was always the plan, i twas always assumed that we were going to have a military -- a u.s. military presence there following the war, and it was for a number of reasons, principally to secure the gains that had been made at such a high cost of american
blood and treasure, and, of course, we know that there was a failure to reach an agreement on the status of our forces afterwards. there's a lot of debate on how much of an effort was actually made in securing that agreement, but whatever the case is, there was a failure to secure it, and virtually all u.s. troops were pulled out. many of us, some who are no longer in congress, some who are still here, some on this committee, some not, many of us predicted not exactly what would happen, but pretty much what would happen and the unraveling and the chaos and the tumultuous situation we see in iraq now was predicted by so many people. and i would just like -- my first question would be, what difference would a u.s. military presence there have made? and how much confidence can we have in the very administration
that made that decision to pull all u.s. troops out, who is now making the decisions to salvage what's left of iraq at this time? mr. mcgurk? or ms. slotkin? >> sure, i'll take a first stab at it. i do think it's important again to review the history. both brett and i worked on the original 2008 s.o.f.a. with iraq which did say by the end of 2011 we would be out of iraq, so that timetable was set back in 2008. i know there was quite a bit of discussion and debate about what should happen at the time in 2011 about a follow-on agreement, but i really do think the point that brett made is critical. the iraqi leaders could not get it through their parliament. unlike what we have in afghanistan today, we have iraqi leaders at that time saying, i don't think it's necessary and we don't want you in. they weren't inviting us in. they're a sovereign country, so we made a decision to cease
negotiations because we didn't have will on the other side. that's a critical factor. >> it's certainly a factor, but the united states is a pretty substantial country on the globe, and we had a lot of involvement there, and our officials were meeting with their officials, and there are relationships. yes, they certainly had to agree with it, but the effort that was made, and ultimately, the decision to pull all the troops out, i mean, it's just mind-boggling to think, looking back, where we are now and how different things probably would have looked had we done something different. i have only one minute left, so let me shift gears to one other thing. what's happening with the christians especially. i know there's persecution going on with lots of other people besides christians, but this convert or die mentality that's
now in action wherever isil is in control, there's something -- you think almost 2,000 years ago and the roman persecutions, these were decisions made back then. in the modern world that people are faced with those decisions? i would just urge the administration to work with any resources we have available to us to push back on that with every fiber that we have as a nation. if you want to comment on that, i would welcome it. >> i would say, congressman, i agree 100%. in my -- just last week, i saw bish bishop orda in erbil and saw the patriarch in baghdad discussing this very question. the christian enclaves in northern iraq, they are looking for resources to provide local security and control. they're in areas controlled by the kurds. we have discussed this with the kurdish regional government how to incorporate individuals from these areas to provide
securities in their local area. such as a police force just to provide security on the streets and that is something that we are discussing. but this has the attention of the united nations security council. it has the attention of the entire world. as i said, the entire iraqi parliament today, again, first real session stood in solidarity with the christians in iraq. this is something that both reveals the true nature of who isil is. it is not a tribal uprising reflecting legitimate grievances. it is a vicious terrorist organization with an ideology that nobody accepts and has to be uprooted and defeated. i agree with you 100% on your comments and follow up with you on the christian question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my time is expired. >> we go to mr. brad sherman, ranking member of the anti-terrorism subcommittee. >> when we conquered japan and germany in world war ii we were
not embarrassed to occupy those countries. we wrote the constitution for japan and we very slowly turned over power to the right people. in afghanistan, and especially in iraq, we were so embarrassed -- we were embarrassed to be there. defensive as to whether we were somehow imperialists and we were so anxious to turn over the government that we have got malaki and karzai, neither of which would sign a status of forces agreement to us just to illustrate one of their many faults. ms. slotkin, "the new york times" reported on the front page that the iraqi security forces are so deeply infiltrated by either sunni extremists informants or shiite personnel backed by iran that any american assigned to advise baghdad's
forces could face a risk to their safety. is that accurate? >> so, i just want to caution that the report is draft classified and that represents a leak of information from someone who seems to know something about it but not clearly to have read the full report. >> put aside the exact phraseology. how dangerous in the unclassified situation here, how dangerous is it for american service personnel to be advising iraqi units? >> that's exactly what we went over to try to assess. those are draft. they're classified and i'm not able to get into the details right now. >> okay. >> it was a threat when we were there with 170,000 troops. the insider threat is always a threat and we'd have to either work to mitigate it or not work with units we thought it was an overwhelming threat. >> there's this idea that we should bomb isis. how important is it that we have
reliable ground spotters to make sure we're bombing the right folks and not bombing civilians? can we run a bombing campaign without anybody we trust on the ground? >> i mean, the united states does not indiscriminately bomb targets. we have a rigorous procedure that involves having verification of the targets we are trying to hit. >> do we need humans on the ground for that procedure to work -- >> it is significantly better if we have -- >> and the iraqis first, do the iraqi vs the technical expertise to be those spotters? do they got good people to tell us where to bomb and what to bomb? >> there are some very capable iraqi unit that is would be capable of doing that, yes. >> and if "the new york times" report is correct, however, they may deliberately give us the wrong coordinates because it may meet the political needs of either the sunni extremists or
the shiite extremists that we be -- that we bomb civilians. so, we don't know unless we know both the technical competence so we don't know unless we note the technical competent and political objectives whether we can rely on those spotters. mr. mcgurk, does malaki have to go? >> again, there's an ongoing process to form a new government. malaki's party won about 91 seats. you would have to have 165 seats to form a government the it remains to be seen whether or not that can happen. i would also add, were we to take a position on such a thing, it would obviously not be in or interests or dramatically affect the process. this is a unique iraqi process with the political dynamics, and
the outcome will reflect that process. the new speaker of the parliament is someone no one would pick. he built a very broad coalition among sunnis, shias and won an overwhelming vote. >> has malaki announced positions that would seriously entice sunnis and kurds to believe they would get a fair shake under a third term for malaki? has he publicly announced platform that has serious appeals, makes serious concessions to those other two communities? >> he has a platform that has all those principles in it. it's just difficult after eight years and given a lot of the bad bleak that's developed and the mistrust, that is what makes it difficult. >> so he maas great plat attitudes in his platform that nobody believes. i yield back.
>> we go now to mr. jeff duncan of south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for this informative hearing. mr. mcgurk in your written statement you talked about the state of intelligence in advance of the fall of mosul, you said, in the earliest days we had to acknowledge that we were operating in a fog. you also say that intelligence collection after the fact has improved, but i'm troubled by the fact that we were operating in the fog in the first place. because in february you testify here and you told us exactly what isi wanted to do, challenge iraqi government for control of baghdad and foment sectarian conflict. for most of the past year i.s.i.s. has already been in control of about half of mosul. there were plernt of other clear sinz that i.s.i.s. was a rising threat, really over the past
year, year and a half, two years. we've had eyes watching what was going on in syria and surely watching the iraqi and jordanian borders. so knowing all this, and knowing all that we did of what you testified in february, why weren't we doing more to collect intelligence all along? please help us understand what led to the decision to not have robust intelligence collect efforts against this terrorist group. >> well, as i did testify, we began to move assets into the theater my testimony was speaking to immediate crisis response. in the immediate, it was fog, rumor and chance as you get into the -- as i was trying to get into the testimony, it was very difficult for us to know specifically what was happening and difficult to know of the advance of isil's advance, which is why in a meeting with the president in the earliest hours
of this crisis, the decision was made immediately to significantly surge u.s. air assets over the skies of iraq, again to go from one a month to 50 a day including manned aircraft. that was something that the iraqis also welcome. in response to an earlier question, i want to say the iraqis, despite what may have happened in 2011, since this crisis we have been embraced, our presence has been embraced from top to bottom. they are actively seeking our assistance. to have iraqi -- u.s. military assets in the skies of iraq was extremely controversial even as late as last fall. right now they welcome us there, they want us there, and it's a different situation than it was when i was testifying in february in terms of the iraqi appetite for our direct support. >> here's the things, folks i talk to all over the country are concerned with what's going on in iraq, because we lost so many men and women there.
not only lost in the loss of lives, but loss in their ability to be productive citizens, whether it's ptsd or an actual physical injury. why did we lose those men and women and turn and and lose control over an area -- and we can watch and tell the heat signature, the plume, what rocket launcher it came from and where it shot down a plane in ukraine, but we spent a lot of money and effort in iraq, yet we're blind? we're in a fog? i find that hard to believe, especially with so much going on in the region, with syria and what i.s.i.s. and isil were doing. huge columns of vehicles headed to mosul? how do we mitt that? that's a rhetorical question, i don't expect you to answer, but i think americans are going how did we miss this? and why did we spend so much money and loss of life and money
in iraq and why can't we do more? you in your statement said we set up the joc in baghdad and erbil, and i wonder why it wasn't set sup sooner. i'm concerned about our friends in the kurdish region. we didn't lose a single american life in the kurdish region, not a single american, because they're friendly? so i want to ask this abouted kurdish region. what's the administration's position on kurdish oil exports? and what actions are we advising american energy companies that might be operating with the krg to take? >> our position is clear, to get
as much oil out of iraq from north to south. we also support doing that in a way that reinforces the overall stability of all iraqi regions. we have an obligation to say when people ask that there is legal risk for taking oil without an agreement. we work very hard to broker an agreement and actually had an agreement on the table that was a very good one as early as four months ago that would have got the oil on to the international markets. that agreement didn't succeed for a number of reasons, one of which is we're in a middle of a high political season in iraq. and now you're working to form a new government. i remain confident that the in the process of forming a new government, we can work with all sides to have a solution to this very important issue. the budget that's being debated in the parliament right now in baghdad is about $10 billion budget. there's about $17 billion for the kurdistan region.
we want to make sure those resources get to kurdistan. we've been very clear that the decision for the prime minister to cut off salary payments because of this dispute is completely unacceptable. we made that very clear. we're working very closely with our kurdish partners in the north and also with the government in baghdad to find a solution to this issue, and through the process of forming a government, we have real opportunity to do so. >> my time is expired. >> will the gentleman yield for a minute? because i wanted to follow up on a specific statement there. what i want to follow up on was the comments you made about having eyes in the air and the difficulty of that. now, in august of 2013, that is when -- that is when a request was made originally by the government in iraq for assistance. in march of 2014, they actually delivered an official letter to the white house asking for help. it is certainly true that originally they wanted armed
drones to do this work, but that was a negotiating position, and they swiftly fell back to the position of okay, you won't -- you won't give them or sell them to us, then can you use them? in order to hit these jihadist units. all of this incurs long before june when mosul falls, right? so i just wanted to put that in context, unless there's something i don't understand here, mr. mcgurk, but that's from the entreaties or the discussions that i've had, that was my understanding through this, as we were trying to get these drone strikes on these units even before they came over the border in order to give some kind of cover for the infantry on the ground. >> again, the sequence was helping the iraqi with their strikes with the information and the fusion cells we set up, then moving the requests for our
direct support came in may. and i think as elisa has spoken to, our ability to do anything effectively requires a much more granular picture on the ground. frankly we have that picture now. we did not have that picture as early as march or april. >> as expressed, we don't understand why you wouldn't, because you also have signals intelligence, human intelligence, and frankly you had a green light there for eyes in the air once they delivered a letter to the white house, an official question in march of 2014. this doesn't add up, but i will go to dr. ami barra of california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses. i think it's disinagainous for us to lay what's happening in iraq as a failure here in america or as a failure of any particular administration here in america. i think our troops did everything twin their power to
give iraq a chance. we shed blood, spent billions to give iraq a chance. one of my staff members is an iraq war veteran, a wounded warrior, and, you know, just chatting to him, as veterans all around this country are saddened by what they're seeing in iraq, because they did lose their colleagues. they did lose many men and women, as we all did in iraq. but we gave them a chance. we really did. you know, it is also tragic to see what's happening to some of the civilians that served side by side with our troops, supporting our efforts in iraq, and the danger that they live under. we really do have to do everything that we can to try to ensure their safety and serve their visas, as we can, but this isn't a failure of an american administration. this is a failure of an iraqi administration and, you know, i
think everyone in this body would be consistent this is a failure of al malaki administrati administration. they were sunni tribal leaders that fought side by side with us in the surge that were made promises that were broken by al malaki. systematically dismantling some of iraqi's own defense forces in a way that we saw what happened in mosul. and they fell apart. now, you know, i think ms. slotkin in your own statement you said there is no military solution in iraq. you indicated that the iraqi people must do the heavy lifting on their own. can you expand on that and tell us what you think that heavy lifting would be? >> well, i think brad has spoken to some of the ideas currently being batted about in baghdad to get towards that political solution. i pont i would make as we look towards any potential decisions
the president makes for future action is, you know, we couldn't sol the political problems when we had 170,000 troops. we couldn't solve them if we kept in 10,000 troops in 2011, and we're not going to be able to solve them through our military support today regardless of what we decide to do. the iraqis have to get at the underlies political differences in their system. isil is extremely capable and dangerous, but they are get tacit support and it's critical that the central government solve those problems so the sunnis turn towards their government. >> mr. mcgurk, if a new iraqi government was most inclusive that gave equal say to the kurds, and the sunnis, and gave them a voice, do you sense that some of our former allies and some of these tribal leaders would, you know, take a different view on isil?
>> we have to be clear that isil is a military force. we have seen tribes try to take it on, and they failed. we trained about 1,000 fallujahens in three months of training, in their first engagement trying to move into the northern regions of fallujah they lost. that's because isil is a highly effective, sophisticated organization, far better than the al qaeda in iraq that we fought. in order for the awakening really to get moving, it took a lot of effort on our part to degrade that network which allowed the awakening and the tribal network to rise up and fight it. there will have to be some military pressure against isil. at the same time there has to be a new government with political accommodations made to isolate isil from the population, but they have to run in parallel.
>> new government forms in iraq that is much more inclusive. the sunnis in iraq become much more open to not supporting isil. our allies in the region potentially, from the sunni side, can also, you know, provide some support as well as, you know looking at ways to cut off the funding. would that be a logical throat-through scenario in. >> yes, and i would just add i don't think sunnis support isil. there was an election in which anyone said anyone votes, we're going to kill. in a province alone we had a report turnout of 1.1 million people, all sunnis, but isil intimidates, threatens and rule by brute force. that's one reason they need ton confronted at isolated. first, we have to continue to find ways to pressure isil --
but a new government providing a new platform, and also with new regional engabement, and we will hope very much when there is a new government the regions' capital really embrace that, so we can make inroads. >> thank you very much dr. bera. mr. kinninger. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to point out i'm a veteran of iraq, spend a lot of time in balad and sad toss it gone down. i'll be honest. everybody is not saying it, but what it seems like is the administration is just paralyzed. they don't know what to do. there's this fear of getting involved in iraq and getting sucked into iraq with this reality that the worst-care scenario in the middle east is playing out right before our eyes. frankly this administration bearings some responsibility for that. i would also like to remind folks in america we threw out the articles of confederation,
we threw them out and drew up the constitution. political solutions are not something we can put in the microwave and expect to happen in a short amount of time. this takes time. what we are seen with the encroachment and the growth of i.s.i.s. or isil is the worst-case scenario and this narrative of we have to have a political solution before we do anything, i would much rather see a flawed iraqe state in which we would work a political solution than to see isis in ha -- does a march 2014 request exist to the white house for what could be included as air strikes? >> i will go check. >> you would know if a march 2014 letter was hand-dlird to the white house requesting assistance -- >> i have a her from may in which there's a very clear and specific request. i think a lot of correspondence before them was not as --
>> so you don't know of this existing? you can get back to me if it exists. >> i'll go chapter and verse with all the correspondence we've had with the iraqis on this question. >> as something that flu isr, it's fairly easy to get that quickly. we should have had an intelligence picture from when the government was asking us for assistance in august. but now we have it. so we have the official request in may, we have a granular picture now, what's the holdup? i think what the answer is not so much that we're still waiting for a political solution. again i think it's the idea that the administration is simply paralyzed and doesn't know what to do. meanwhile, the vacuum is being filled by iran, by russia providing equipment to the iraqi government at a time when we're sitting around saying i can't believe they're taking this assistance, but they're fighting for the survival of their very life.
this is time when we have to say we're the united states of america with a robust military capability, surely we can have the intelligence if it was decided that may was the time we would, is sure will you in tli months we could have figured out a picture. i also want to talk about the issue of hellfire missile. a missile has a warhead of 20 or 18 pounds depending on what kind of missile it is and what its target is. the cessnas that have been retrofitted in iraq, my guess is they can't carry that many. an apaches helicopter i think carries 16. the idea of an apache helicopter, one, taking out an entire camp of i.s.i.s. or isil is unrealistic with 16 of these missiles. so the idea of a cessna with one, maybe two hellfire missiles being the thing that destroys he camps in syria and in iraq is crazy. i think we need a robust air strike campaign on behalf of the
united states. when our troops on the ground getting engaged in combat, we're very good. the marines and arm are good at fighting off the enemy, but the first thing they do is call for robust air support to help them win that engagement. this idea that the iraqi military melted away or it can take background with a hellfire missiles is unrealistic when our own troops, who are very well trained, who have a great background and know how to fight wars calls to come in and do close air support in order to retake ground. arue newing the call for massive air strikes to push back this very, very bad cancer that's encroaching on the middle east, and also to target those in syria, to understand that the syrians, they are a very good fighting force, and they're getting their training in syria, and then spilling it out to the rest of the place. i do pressure your service to the country and appreciate you being here.
i know it's a tough time, but with that, i yield back. >> ms. frankel of florida. >> thank you to the panel for being here. two or three questions. first, could you explain what makes the isil terrorists such a greater threat than the other terrorists that we hear about all the time? and what is the most immediate threats to the united states and to our allies. second, i'm heard a lot of questions which i think are appropriate as to what did we know? what could we have done to have avoided the threat of isil in iraq and in syria? my question is how far back should we go? can you give me your opinion f. a war in iraq, the invasion of 2003, how that relates to the rise of isil?
because i think there are many of us in this country who thinks that was an act of mall feesens, by our country and by this congress to send our country as to war in iraq. if you have time, explain to me the difference between what some people say is paralysis versus first doing no ham. harm. >> i can speak to the terrorist threat and why isil is particularly different. i think, you know, it's the territory they now hold, the self-financing that they are capable of, not getting donations and living off donations, but the self-financing, self-sustainment. the span of control. the capability of some of their fighters. they are very, very experienced and war tested.
and then the number of western passport holders that we know of that traveled to syria and engaged with isil and other groups there. the isil's intend, we're coming for you, barack obama, rhetorically, and then what we know to be active plotting in europe. all those things in combination make them, i think, it's safe to say buffett most capable and best funded group in the region right now and that's what makes it a particular concern. >> i can talk a bit about the history, though the questions are ask are really the questions historians will sort out, but isil is a group we know, it's al qaeda in iraq, the first leader was zarqawi. he was kind of the leader who focused on this effort to spark sectarian conflict. if you go back to the writings
at the time, it might have been looked preposterous, but his plan has always been to establish a state in iraq and syria. that has always been his focus. he said we're going to do it three ways. we're going to attack the shia majority in iraq consistently, the mosques, playgrounds, until they respond, and then sell says we will unite the sunni ranks behind us. he also will attack any sunni, tribal sheikh, anyone who disagrees with him, and will attack kurds to tear open that narrow fabric which exists in the disputed territories. that was his stated strategy in 2004. it's now the strategy of al baghdadi. we know what their ideology is, what is particularly scary is that it effectively controls the state and has ambition to take
the mantle away. and we thank you again for the time to testify about the situation today, and that's why we look forward to consulting with you to little a handle on it over the weeks and months ahead. >> i'm not sure if you answered the question about the war in iraq. >> i have to say, congresswoman, i'll let the historians sort out what happened over the last 12 years. >> thank you, mr. cook of california. >> thank you, madam chair.
>> i'm very concerned about malaki and his credibility, which to me is absolutely zero. we have a group representing camp liberty and what has happened in the past. you cannot overlook that. what scares me even more was isil, i.s.i.s., and the fact that they went in there and they defeated four divisions. you know. in the history of the united states marine corps, the marine corps has never had four divisions in one place at one time. since 1775, an organization like that, and ed four divisions? and you have a group with pickup tricks, ak 48s, what have you?
and obviously they don't have any trust. in the functioning or lack of functioning federalism. so i'm very, very pessimistic. in terms of reconstructing the military, especially when if they're going to continue to go to the iranians for the revolutionary guards, the qods force, et cetera, et cetera. and with hellfire missiles falling in the wrong hands, i'm just very, very nervous about this whoa thing. i think from the united states that once again we have to recognize the changing geopolitical if we are not ready to defend jordan or be there for
them, i think we'll be in serious trouble. we have i'm a strong supporter of kurdistan, and we have to recognize that. the other one, i want to get your take on turkey, on how, in the past they might be influencing it, and turkey late ly obviously turkey is a big, big player. the fact that some of their behavior with the muslim brotherhood is very, very scary. could you address that, please? turkey remains a close partner, and yes in fact we had an almost all day dialogue good a whole host of issues.
we recognize broughtly, i mean, when we focus on al qaeda and iraq back in the 2007, 2008 time, we called it an anaconda strategy. it's really three prongs. first you have to shut off the infiltration networks. >> turkey will remind you that a lot of the source countries in which they're coming into turkey and then entering syria, also have to do their part. that's critical. secondly denies them a safe haven in syria. that's why we're focusing on training. then helps the iraqis control their space. that's difficult, but the conversations yesterday with the turks led by our second tear bill burns and their undersecretary were focused on that.
i think we have a fairly common understand with the way forward on this. >> i don't think i have much more to add than i think they've been living with the threat emanating from syria a long time. they are extremely focused on it and what's happening in rack, at a nato ally, we are talking with them every day. 6. >> okay. if you could just comment on the qods force revolution yar guard and their influence right now and whether they have replaced the american military completely. >> we remain a part of choice. 11 billion into the federal reserve, including $193 million just last week. there was a major value and iran has stepped up to fill the vacuum in ways we made clear that the iraqis are not particularly helpful.
>> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. connelly of virginia. >> i have to say that in listens to many of your answers, i heard a lot of aspiral aces, and i share them, too, but i'm note quite sure whether they're realistically achievable anymore. you may a pretty forceful statement that there's no substitute for a strong central government locate indeed baghdad. >> we've been there for years, poured trillions into the country, we've lost precious men and women in finding there. what, pray tell, do we -- how does one achieve this strong central effective functional government in baghdad? >> i think this is what the
iraqis are grappling with, and they will have some answers -- bret has talked about some of the ideas on the table. >> i guess my -- maybe we need to rye 'says. the vice president of the united states wrote an op-ed piece before he became vice president, roundly dismissed at the time, and he said frankly what ought to happen in iraq, what's likely to happen as wet is the sort of segmentation of iraq into three autonomous zones looking at the map today, that may be looked upon as a more prescient view than was accept at the time. maybe we have to give up on a strong questionable functional.
you i can speak to what it would mean right now if somehow we decide to do give up on a strong who is in charge? some very, very care,people. so while i think the idea may beau interesting on paper, i think in reality who is in charge, it's just a much less favorable option than having a strong government? >> of course i take your point, but the question is whether we should continue to pour blood and treasure into that hope. at what point do we recognize we're going to have to at least modify that hope? because it's not going to happened or not happen anytime soon realistically? if we continue to pursue a
policy however is notable and re -- that's not a good foreign policy. what i laid out is a -- that is within the fabric much the iraqi constitution, that can harness their very significant natural resources that is a model which recognizes federal im, which is embedded in the iraqi constitution. there's a process for doing that through the constitution. >> i agree with you, but that
ought to be how it works. but the malaki government has significantly alienated huge swaths of its own country, and in the process has opened the door for recep activity. which we helped training and equip. but they've lost a huge amount of political goodwill, if they ever had it. how do you restore that in a time frame that stabilizes the situation and can forcibly push back i.s.i.s. the election did happen, it was a credible they spoke a speaker.
one there's a 30 days to form a cabinet. the iraqis will get through this process, and they will come out with a new government. we remain hopeful that government will reflect a fairly broad consensus. so that happened to be in this political vacuum period, but once they have a new government, it will begin the process of a genuine dialogue, and i hope with this committee we can be a part of that. >> my time is up. i just hope that the state department and the pentagon both here bipar san skepticism. goodwill, i hope you're right. >> now we turn to mr. perry of
pennsylvania. what material support is the government receiving from iran currently, that you know of? >> the question of sanctions under those provisions is something we are looking at very closely. it's a very complicated question, actually. >> just tell me what kind of -- >> we can discuss it in a closed session in some detail. >> all right. ms. slotkin, do you know? >> i really do think in a closed session we can much more specifically answer your question. >> >> all right. i get your point. notice that iran is supporting the insurgency in yemen, is the yemen model, is that realistic or viable for iraq?
send that is fairly complected? that we're barely working with i mean, what position do we put ourselves in and how can we trust the malaki government to move forward, and relies on iran? and can we expect, you know, the folks in camp ashraf to receive better treatment knowing that the government is collaborating with iran than they are now? >> i want to make sure i understand the question. it seems like you're implies that the iraqi government is completely under the sway of the irania iranians. >> i think considering the yemen model as is myopic and
irresponsible, and know that we're working at cross purposes, even mentioning that kind of indicates cluelessness, in my estimation. i just wanted to get your feeling on it. >> again, i'm sorry, i'm not sure i completely understand your question. if the question is could the yemen model work in iraq -- >> is it viable? yeah, it could work if we had different people in iraq in power and different circumstance, in my opinion, but that's not the circumstance. is it viable now? do you see 9 yemen model viable now in iraq? >> i think, if i understand what you mean by yemen model, meaning working very closely with the central government on a program. >> yes. >> i think first we are working with the iraqis on the ground, we have people that our own people that need security and we rely on the iraqis to provide part of that security. ma we are trying to figure out
is the answer to that question. >> it seemed irresponsible to come out with those statements when you're trying to understand the circumstance, but moving on probably didn't want us to stay. what responsibility does the administration have, understand they dug agreed with what responsibility do we have though secure the gains of the previous or any administration? do they have any? it's an opinion question for you. >> do the iraqis have -- >> no, what is our responsibility? >> what is our responsibility? >> do we have any? we have invested incredible amount of blood and treasure. my husband is an army office.
we met in iraq. as a country, we have invested so significantly in that country. so, of course we are invested? making sure that it continues as a viable state and doesn't become a breeding ground for terrorists. >> having spent time there as i did, do you believe circumstances would have been different had he maintained a s.o.f.a.? using it as an execution, and i see it as an excuse, that the government couldn't get itself together to support that, we get that. they didn't want us there. that's a big surprise. didn't we have a responsibility to make sure it happened? the president has a pen and phone. if he said we're staying, what are you going to do about it? would things be different? do you think things would be different now? providing some security, providing some intelligence, providing some oversight of a fledgling government under a very different circumstance, and literally almost installed piece by piece?
>> i think things may have been different, but i don't know we wouldn't be in a similar situation to today, given the fact we lack political -- >> thank you very much, and we turn to mr. weber of texas. >> thank you, mr. mcgurk, you said our objective is to make thurl shah -- in your opinion has isil, i.s.i.s. operatewood lightning speed? so in your opinion, would you characterize that -- >> i think it caught them offgart, i think. >> i'm not quite sure how to an answer that question.
isil has proven to be effective. >> do you remember how ted deutsche asked you how confidence are you that the shiites can withstand repeated attacks? >> here's my question for you -- how confident are you that camp liberty can withstand more attacks? >> again, i visited camp liberty a number of times. >> have you ever stayed there? >> i have notify stayed overnight, but i have lived in trailers under rocket attacks. i dough know what that feels like. >> do you think they'll all be killed before or after baghdad falls? >> again, congressman, all i can see -- >> but you don't think it's a real threat. >> they're located on the airport facility, very near where our people are located. >> you don't think it's a real possibility? >> we watch it closely. >> you don't think it's a real
possibility. >> again i'm happy to come address the specific security apparatus we have at the airport -- >> well, do we just write them off? >> certainly we don't write them off. it takes a substantial amount of time and energy ever today to focus and we have a senior adviser that does this full time. >> in your remarks earlier, you said, let me tell you why this matters. does camp liberty matter? >> yes, of course it matters. that's why, again, we have a senior official at the state department dedicated to this issue full time reporting to the secretary. he'll be on a plane tonight to the country -- >> does it seem odd to you that we have some sick in the current calamity, crisis on the border, we have some 60,000 crossing or southern board and getting refugee status, or asylum, but we can't get the same thing for camp liberty? does that seem odd? is that ironic? >> the administration has made a decision to bring in -- >> they've made a decision all
right. >> and we believe that's a significant decision, which also should enable other countries to do the same. >> you see all the yellow jackets behind you? have you seen those? you think that's an importance issue for them? >> again, it's a very important issue to us. >> well, the actions don't seem to follow up that idea. you and i talked back on february 5th hearing about t-walls and they began to be put in place for a short time, and then seemed to be ended pretty quickly thereafter. i would say not only is it an important issue, but obvious ly somehow we need that a priority. what is the answer for those camp liberty -- how do we what's
the answer to that? >> we're determined to do everything we can to get them out of iraq. that's why we have to find third countries to take them. we have made the decision to take in 100 -- >> should we encourage them to go over to mexico and come up through the southern border? >> again, if the mexicans were willing to take a number of residents, we would certainly support that decision as any other country around the world. we have a senior adviser whose focus is on an airplane tonight. he's gone through countries everywhere, and we are making some progress, but we need to keep at it, and we need the support from the international community. that's why we've put million into u.n. trust fund, so even countries who may not have the resource are able to bring they people to safety. >> ms. slotkin, i have 30 seconds left. what do we need to do? >> sir, we're trying to figure
on that out -- >> you're trying to figure that out? how long have they been over there? >> since late -- mid to late june, and i believe it is important to have a prudent thoughtful, responsible approach. >> it won't be prudent if they all get killed before we do something, is it? >> sir, i think that it is critical we have a thoughtful regional approach to this problem before we jump? >> i hope you will encourage the administration to get real thoughtful real fast. madam chair, i yield back. >> thank you very much, mr. weber. >> i'm pleased to yield to our new member of our committee, mr. clausen. >> those from camp liberty, you have made your point with the newest congress person here. the two of you, thank you for coming, and thank you for your service to our country, and i'm sure this is not an easy moment
for you. it's never easy to be the point of the speer in this kind of situation, so i respect you for coming and speaking straight, and ask you to speak straight to me too. to use your words, mr. mcgurk, there are some hard realities, i cannot overestimate those realities. people are dying, and these are people that don't deserve to die, and we've been there for a while. it feels like a perilous situation to me as our enemies consolidate friends, allies and territory, which will certainly someday threaten our friends, israel, and maybe even us, if i'm getting the drift of what's going on here as the newcomer. and then in that backdrop, it feels like we have bet on a team that is divided, right?
maybe artificially put together. and a coach that we and you as an administration don't have full confidence in. that sounds like a bad situation for us to be in as i hear the talk today, it feels this lack of leadership thereof causes a deterioration in safety and where there's a deterioration in safety, there's even a deterioration in culture. people losing lives in their own culture feels like a bad situation and it threatens us in the longer term. if i'm capturing correctly what's going on here. so in that vacuum of chaos, you all are making decisions that will affect us eventually and people on the ground immediately.
for my constituents i think what would be good would be two things. number one, each of you give me a very brief summary, though those that aren't experts, that don't know all the missiles, that don't know all the things involved here, what is your summary way forward? where is the administration taking us? i don't want to get into partisan bickering. i just want to understand where we are going and where we will be six months from now. and then secondly i would like to understand what can this committee do to help? save lives and protect people. i am not interested in assigning blame. i think mr. mcgurk you said it best. history will sort that out. i think it's more helpful if you tell us where we are going and
if we like that path, how we can help to get there. in layman's terms, so i can understand it and therefore take it to my constituents. i know this question is a little different than most, but does it make sense to you two? >> yes, congressman, thank you for the very thoughtful question. again i think explaining this to your constituents is critical about why this matters. a lot of the history on iraq, i think it can have a clouded view upon why this really continues to matter to the united states. >> i want you to look forward with me. >> let me say three things. first, when this crisis began, as i stated in my written testimony, we immediately had to get a very precise, accurate eyes-on picture on the ground. i want to speak for my own firsthand experience, president obama immediately ordering a surge of intelligence assets, moving an aircraft carrier into the 2k3wu68, ordering forces on
the ground, that's all been dodge. there was talk about the 2011 s.o.f.a., and then a strategic frameworks agreement. it's number one. we had to get a clear picture. we're getting that now. it will become clearer over the days ahead, particularly from the assessment undertaken by the military. second, wet to get the political, iraq just had an election. a higher turnout than most elections around the world. that show the the democratic aspirations of the iraqi people. we can't let them down. they want a new government formed. a new plasm has just convened. they're now working to form a new government. we have to be behind them and encourage them to do so. isn't that new government is stewed up, we need to embrace it and give it every chance to succeed.
that in a new shell, a better picture on the ground. secondly we have to get the political process on track, which reflects not just the political elites, but the aspirations of 14 million iraqis who voted. once it stood up, we tee to embrace it. >> thank you very much. >> in summary, we wait until the new government is formed, and then give that government full support? >> we're not waiting. we have people on the ground now doing significant things under the strategic framework agreement which economists with the future government, the current one and the one before that. >> thank you very much. now we will turn to mr. moreno of pennsylvania. after that, mr. collins of georgia. >> thank you, chairman. good afternoon the two of you. thank you for being here. unfortunately, and i don't mean to be facetious, but you two have drawn the short stick to be
here and put up with us, and as i tell individuals that come and testify, you should by accommodated for that in your reviews. it's a tough group here. i think we all have one intention in mind. it's just different ways we want to go about it. complex is not enough of a word to explain what is going on over there. i understand the two of you have been in iraq, so you know first hand what things are like. i've visited there twice, short perts periods of time. ms. slotkin, and mr. mcgurk, you can respond if you'd like to --
several moments ago you said there were be no difference in troops were left in iraq, have no impact on what's taking place in iraq now to repel isil. did i understand that correctly? >> let me clair if, because this came up just a couple minutes ago. it's not there would be no difference. i don't know exactly how it would have been, but i know it wouldn't have forced the iraqis into a political solution that only they can make. >> i'm glad you clarified the -- the political piece, and that's critical. >> it is critical, but i somewhat disagree with that assessment. i'm read and studied this extensively, probably not nearly as up-to-day with it as the two of you are, but i've been reading military records, listening to experts from generals to commanders to
tactitions, et cetera, and they disagree with that assessment. if there would have been troops left there, and make no mistake about it, a lot of this is malaki's fault, but i was reading an article in "the new yorker" that said if troops could have been left there, first of all, it would have been an impact on malaki. they probably could have clipped his wings on preventing him from doing what he should have done and didn't do. >> but it also would have an impact on i.s.i.l. as well. could you please tell some el what the difference is now since president obama has sent some troops over there now. if sending the troops over -- if not leaving troops there would really not have made a difference, why -- what is the intent then behind sending troops now?
would that not make a difference? do you understand my question? >> i believe so itches thank you. >> first, i just want to clarify that we have sent? an additional i think up to 775 troops. 475 of that total are for the security of our people. >> the airport, et cetera. >> exactly. the other 300 are there to assess and answer those very questions, right? and i think the important thing that has changed since even just a year ago is the threat from isil that that poses to us, to our allying, to our partners and the importance that puts on pushing back on them. i think if your question is, you know, what more could we do? we should have left troops and now we're considering putting them back in? we're trying to figure out whether additional folks on the ground would help in that fight.
i've been on the ramp and saw the ceremonies where two people were sent back to my state. it's something i do not want to experience again. we did have the civil war under control by the time the troops left iraq. do you agree with that assessment? >> i agree that the sectarian violence that had been raging in iraq at the height of the war was significantly diminished, significantly, by the time we departed. >> i want to say first, it's a tremendous honor to be here and discuss this with you. >> thank you. i think 2011, we just -- the requirements to get something through the iraqi parliament was not possible we have fully
embraced to do training, and what we are undertaking is a careful review of what we can do to be most effective. hopefully in our future conversation we will have a more concrete way forward, because that is the conversation that's ongoing now internally. >> thank you very much. i will say this in reference to my friend -- i was there when they are put in body bags. i'm appalled we did so little in the s.o.f.a. agreement and do not accept the answer that politically we couldn't have gotten it through. also there was a political here, so so let's not kid each other,
at least in this committee that we're doing that. i'll be honest that that. i want to go forward and look at this, because that is it's very concerning for knows of us that were there. going forward it's a concern for me and one of the parties was the march in iraq. iran uses their close relationship with iraq and it was going towards the end and other partners in their flight. and their flight and fight in syria. the u.s. has time and time again has asked iraq to stop using their airspace. what's the most recent activity the obama administration has taken to have cease these flights. >> it's unclear, congressman, in terms of what's on specific
flights and the iraqis aren't going to completely shut down their air space. it's an ongoing conversation. it could send us sense five information where i i would be happy to follow-up with you in a different setting. >> there's a lot of conversation that may not need to be had here in an open forum like this but there's a lot of things we're dealing with the iranians on right now that there could be some issues on pressure points and other sides that i'm kerped about their continued involvement in this basically messed up soup of syria. i want to move to the amf. to the president's 775 -- 475 are there for additional embassy security and advisers to the iraqi army. under what authority is the president deploying this force? >> >> so, as part of our -- the 775 in total were notified in the three war power any informations that came over to the hill. >> okay all right. using -- so article two, still
adheres to the war powers resolution and they've been there for roughly 30 days at this point. after the 60 day mark, which authorizing force will the president use? is he going to try to use iraqi amf or the -- which one is going to -- i mean, which one are we looking to use? >> one of you. >> i'll say, congressman, what the president said. any future decisions regarding our military posture in iraq we did in close consultation with the congress and one of those issues to be discussed will be the specific legal authorizations through which the administration determined the president has that authority. >> so at this point in time, the question of what had to have come up that we're about 30 days away from using this, so the question would have had to at least be, we've thought about this which are you going to come back and ask for a new authorization? this is, at some point in time has to be asked and basically, just saying, we'll think about
it in 30 days. frankly, is not satisfactory to me. >> and congressman there's a number of legal authorities through which the president is able to play military force throughout the world. the specifics will be determined both within the administration and fairly close consultation. >> let's discuss the iraq amf for just a second. if he intends to use the reerk amf, at what point does the iraq aumf without congressional appeal or in some time not using it, this administration chose to withdraw in 2011, the authorization still valid or are we going to keep it for item for item or go to the -- this is on nest question that needs to be discussed. how long are we going to have that on the table? >> it's also an issue, a legal issue which i would denver to the lawyers and the administration to provide specific's. >> i'm sure they're not going to knock down our door to talk about it at this point. that's why you're here, unfortunately, for that. like i said, this is concerning.
again, i believe we left with no real strategy. we're now having to deal with it and for those of us who did deal with us on the ground are frustrated about it and one last thing before, again, i appreciate you coming up the hill. we're going to have a difference of opinion. i know you're limited by what you can or cannot say which is understandable but not satisfactory. to the supporters in iraq, look, i will tell you each, secretary of the state department and any other agent, the united states needs to continue to employ all necessary means to protect those there. it is our obligation and our right. and frankly, studying it forever is not the option that needs to stop. the next time i hope someone comes to this kwom, they're saying, here's what we're doing. not that we're looking at it. that's very disingenuous. we've been looking at it for a long time now. with that, there's a lot of big questions here, madam chair, that are left, concerning the
use of force and i'd like to have a healthy discussion about that and not just a -- well, we'll get to it later because there's a lot of -- i'm an attorney as well. there's a lot of legal options here and we need to decide what we're going to do it under and not make it up on the fly because we're not sure what to do. >> thank you so much, mr. collins and mr. engel and thank you for the panelist and the audience and the media. with that, our committee is adjourned. thank you. saturday marks the 40th anniversary of richard nixon's resignation of president of the united states. this week, american history tv looks back at the summer of 1974. and president nixon's last day's in office. tonight, the house judiciary's committee impeachment hearings against president nixon. we'll get opening statements from members of the committee starting with its chair map, new jersey congressman peter ro deno and that's at 8 p.m. eastern here on c-span three american history tv and on or kpan top
story network at 8:00 eastern, the western conservative summitt where sarah palin called for the impeachment of president obama. members of the 9/11 commission recently sad down with house homeland security committee chairman michael mccall with a conversation about today's terrorism threat. from the baerps policy center this oh bipartisan policy center, this is almost two hours. good morning. thank you all so much for coming today. we appreciate you all being here. my name is keiri he mack. director of the homeland security security project at the bipartisan policy center which is a nonpartisan by partisan
think tank founded by four former authorities. who today we're here to celebrate the birthday of the 9/11 commission report but i'd be remiss if i didn't say it was also bob dole's 91st birthday. we're happy to celebrate that today as well. i want to say thank you for coming. i'm not sure where in the room, right over there we're going to be hearing more from kathleen jamieson, michael rosanski and their team and we thank them for the support. without them we couldn't have made this report happen. thank you very much to the public policy center. so, i'm going to take my bpc has often for a second. as many of you know, my mother was killed on september 11th, 2001. so ten years ago today was a bit
of a different day for me and the other 9/11 family members. many of whom are here in the room. it was my mother's loss we have bradley's mother, mary fetchit is here. janice ashley's mother, carol is here, abraham scott who lost his wife is also here and for us the 9/11 commission report was the end of a journey not just the beginning. for the members of the 9/11 christians in this room their journey started in early 2003. but for the 9/11 families, our journey started much soon e. i remember distinctly, i have a thing for dates. it was january 30th, 2002. and i was returning home to boston from d.c. we've been fighting or i should say nicely, advocating on behalf of other family members with some lawmakers about issues related to the victim compensation fund. and i was reading an article in the newspaper on the flight home and the article said that president bush wanted to only
have investigation into the intelligence failures that surrounded 9/11. and not anythingless. and i thought, i was an average, ordinary citizen that got caught up in a terrible tragedy like so many others on 9/11. and i couldn't understand why our government wouldn't want to investigate all that had happened simply to make sure that it never happened again. we fought, the 9/11 family members, for many, many months and we have a lot of stories about that be i think we'll all remember our rally in june. we didn't know d.c. that well. and having, outdoor rally in june didn't set off bells that it would be really warm in june. i remember warming the lawmakers and they were suffering in the heat and they were troopers. it was clear they knew what they were doing and they were there to support our call for independent investigation into the attacks. i'm sure we all remember many meetings with many members of congress. some went very women.
and others not so well. again, we were not experts in how washington works so when we were told, no, our answer was, well, why not? i remember distinctly having a conversation with one member of conwhere i said, well, i don't understand why you won't investigate my mom's murder if i pulled out a gun and shot you right now the police would do an investigation. that was a mistake. his staff got a little tense and i had to explain, no, i'm not saying i'm going to do that but we're saying we don't understand what the difference is. i never did that one again. we had meetings in the white house where we -- with very high senior level officials who i don't think are used to being asked why not? they had to get used to that with us. and one of my favorite meetings and i the other 9/11 family members will laugh about this, when a member of congress hid in his office because he didn't want to talk to us and we told